Podcast 070: Considerations as suppliers assess MAX production pause

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Welcome to Episode 070 of the #PaxEx podcast, which tracks how the airline passenger experience is evolving in a mobile, social, vocal world.

In this episode – available on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts – co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby explore how Boeing’s decision to suspend 737 MAX production creates uncertainty for its supply chain, including a raft of #PaxEx companies, and indeed the US economy as a whole. Analysts now suggest that Boeing may have to provide some financial support to suppliers.

Max shares his opinion on the three steps that must happen before the MAX re-enters revenue service, including a revamp to Boeing’s safety culture.

Meanwhile, with safety top of mind, many passengers don’t relish the idea of boarding a MAX even when it is recertified. That is the hard fact. But purely from a comfort standpoint, the MAX hasn’t showered itself in glory either. Before the grounding, it was perhaps best known for being the aircraft with lavatories so tiny that some passengers had difficulty entering and exiting, and even executing proper hygiene. Might some airlines seek to improve comfort on the MAX once it is recertified?

Next, Spirit Airlines has unveiled a brand new cabin on its new Airbus A320neo. The cabin features new Acro slimline seats which are being heralded as offering far better “useable legroom” for passengers. Mary got a chance to sit in this seat recently, and explains what to expect. She also provides an update on Spirit’s inflight connectivity program, which has seen a further delay due to antenna problems.

Last but not least, the Flight Shame movement has picked up stream. Originating in Sweden, the movement discourages air travel, particularly for short-haul trips.

In a bid to step up their eco-credentials, airlines are enacting a wave of green initiatives. Some have invested in sustainable fuel plants and committed to use greater percentages of biofuel. Others are seeking to eliminate single use plastics on board or dramatically reduce wastage through the help of technology. But one operator, budget carrier Wizz Air attracted headlines recently when it called for a global ban on business class in the name of reducing the carbon footprint of flying business.

Max and Mary consider whether Wizz Air’s proposal is legitimate or a marketing stunt, and Mary wonders whether the carrier has considered the needs of passengers of size and reduced mobility.

A transcript of this podcast will be published on this page shortly. Photo of Air Italy MAX interior credited to Jason Rabinowitz.